Data demonstrates the potential for de novo engineering of novel synthetic cytotoxic effector cells that show significant promise as “off the shelf” cancer therapeutics
SEATTLE, April 8, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Umoja Biopharma, Inc., an oncology company leveraging its proprietary integrated technologies to create next-generation off-the-shelf in vivo(VivoVec) and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) based immunotherapies for the treatment of solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, announced today the presentation of data supporting the use of a synthetic cytokine receptor, the Rapamycin Activated Cytokine Receptor (RACR), to derive synthetic innate lymphoid cells, RACR-induced cytotoxic innate lymphoid cells (RACR-iCILs). The data will be presented in a poster presentation at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2022, held from April 8-13, 2022.
“Some of the current limitations of cell therapies are the need for lymphodepletion, and repetitive lymphodepletion at that, in addition to the challenge of in vivo expansion,” said Andy Scharenberg, M.D., co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Umoja. “Our induced pluripotent stem cell platform seeks to address many of the limitations holding back cell therapy as we know it. By using a synthetic cytokine receptor that can mimic the downstream signaling of the common gamma chain cytokines essential to lymphoid cell differentiation, we are able to create a renewable starting material for scalable manufacturing of synthetic allogeneic chimeric antigen receptor cell products.”
On Sunday, April 10th, Samantha O’Hara, Ph.D., Principal Scientist at Umoja Biopharma, will present a poster (Abstract 547) titled “Generation of synthetic cytokine receptor-induced cytotoxic innate lymphocytes (iCILs) from iPSCs as off-the-shelf cancer therapeutics.” The data highlights Umoja’s iPSC-based cell therapy platform in which stem cells are engineered ex vivo to express Umoja’s RACR system and a universal adapter-specific TagCAR. The RACR system is intended to be utilized during the manufacturing process where it has the potential to deliver controlled and consistent proliferation and differentiation signals, resulting in the production of a highly pure, induced cytotoxic innate lymphoid cell product. In addition, the RACR system could enable enhanced in vivo engraftment and persistence in the absence of lymphodepleting chemotherapy. The universal adapter-specific TagCAR is designed to enable simultaneous targeting of tumor, tumor stroma, and immunosuppressive cells in the presence of a cocktail of bispecific small molecule adapters, called TumorTags.
About Umoja Biopharma, Inc. Umoja Biopharma, Inc. is a preclinical stage company advancing an entirely new approach to immunotherapy. Umoja Biopharma, Inc. is a transformative multi-platform immuno-oncology company founded with the goal of creating curative treatments for solid and hematological malignancies by reprogramming a patient’s immune system in vivo. Founded based on pioneering work performed at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Purdue University, Umoja’s novel approach is powered by integrated cellular immunotherapy technologies including the VivoVec in vivo delivery platform, the RACR/CAR in vivo cell expansion/control platform, and the TumorTag targeting platform. Designed from the ground up to work together, these platforms are being developed to create and harness a powerful immune response in the body to directly, safely, and controllably attack cancer. Umoja believes that its approach can provide broader access to the most advanced immunotherapies and enable more patients to live better, fuller lives. To learn more, visit http://umoja-biopharma.com/.
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Darren Opland, Ph.D.